Letter to the editor 8, Feb. 9, 2017
St. Lazare Taxes
During the January council meeting, Mayor Robert Grimaudo was asked about the discrepancy in the 1.26 % tax increase, as one citizen stated the tax increase was 1.86 %. Grimaudo’s explanation was, “The base tax rate has increased by 1.86 %, but special taxes have changed, resulting in a reduction of the overall total tax rate to 1.26 %.” St. Lazare rate in 2017 is 0.6668, an increase of 0.0122 per $100 valuation. Non-residential building taxes are 50 % higher in Ile Perrot, and 100 % higher in Vaudreuil-Dorion, so St. Lazare businesses pay much lower taxes than elsewhere.
When questioned about the taxes for the new town hall/traffic circle, the Mayor stated these taxes would not be seen until the 2018. The schedule for completion of the town hall is June 2017, so contractors should then be paid in full. Assuming the cost of the town hall to taxpayers is $8 million, plus the proposed traffic circle on Bédard and St. Louis is $2 million, then 2018 taxes will increase to cover this extra $10 million. This amount amortized over 15 years, is approximately $800,000 p.a.
Based on the 2017 budget $28,375,000, will mean taxes must increase in 2018 by 3% to 4%. If the town hall/traffic circle costs had been added to the 2017 budget, St. Lazare residents would be looking at a staggering 4.8% to 5.8% increase.
Maybe the new town hall taxes are not included in the 2017 budget, because of the municipal election this November, as 4.8% to 5.8% increase in taxes would not be a “fiscally responsible platform” for the mayor, or any long sitting councillors, hoping for re-election. The above increases for 2018 taxes ignores the proposed $1 million bike-path extension on St. Charles and St. Louis, as well as the $12 to $15 million revitalization of downtown which are still on the books, probably for the 2019 budget.
St. Lazare residents might accept 1.26 % increase for 2017 taxes, but 2018 and 2019 will see even bigger increases in our taxes. We must get rid of the spend - spend mentality of this administration, otherwise taxes in St. Lazare will become unaffordable for most residents over the next two to four years.